If you’re one of the lucky ones who got to spend time whooshing down the slopes in Austria this season you’re probably, firstly, bragging endlessly to your friends and colleagues about it, and secondly, missing the richness of the Austrian fayre you filled up on inbetween red and black runs.
Unfortunately Clapham hasn’t managed to create its own micro-climate to provide you with an accessible inner-London ski resort, however it has opened a new Austrian restaurant.
Down on Northcote Road Bistro Delicat has opened up offering a menu jam-packed full of Austrian favourites.
We arrived, for dinner, at around 8pm on a Wednesday evening and entered an empty restaurant. Keen to see the silver lining I suggested to my companions that this would mean we’d be likely to get VIP treatment from the waiting staff. My expectations were a tad too high. Although pleasant enough, our waitress was lacking in some fundamental service experience: We were struggling at one point to choose a wine so we looked to our waitress for a recommendation.
“I wouldn’t know I’m afraid, I don’t drink wine myself” she replied, promptly followed up with “The Sauvignon Blanc’s is very nice”. We questioned her authority on that suggestion and felt disappointed that she wasn’t a little bit more aware of what was on offer.
Not completely put off by this we forged on ahead and ordered a selection of starters and mains. I opted for the Krautschupfnudeln – an incredibly doughy, and in all honesty quite claggy, Austrian gnocchi. This was seared in butter and served with sauerkraut, speck and crispy onions. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was *completely* tasteless but it didn’t manage to make too big a first impression. The charcuterie board and the tartare that were ordered by my companions were presented very well, and were enjoyed happily. I can testify to the Schwarzwaelder Schinken on the charcuterie board as I swiped a piece when my companion foolishly offered up his dish for sample. It was very good. Very good indeed. I had almost immediate food envy.
Fortunately, by the time we’d finished our starters a couple more tables had filled up meaning we felt less like goldfish in a bowl.
3 out of 4 of us had opted for the Wiener Schnitzel for main, and judging by a quick glance around to the other tables, it’s the most popular dish on Delicat’s menu. Our rebel 4th had chosen the Gulasch (a spiced beef stew served with dumplings).
An enormous Schnitzel arrived with some crushed potatoes and a small pot of cranberry sauce. I reference the ‘small’ pot because with a plate-sized piece of breaded veal and some dry potatoes you could really do with a decent amount of sauce to avoid leaving your tongue like a Saharan sand-dune in your mouth. They could definitely do with serving a bit more sauce. Overall however it was pretty good.
For dessert I chose the Erdbeerknodel which are strawberry dumplings served with vanilla ice-cream. These were utterly delicious and the sprinkling of icing sugar that coated the desserts really transported you back to the snow-capped mountains and roaring open fires of the chalets. My companions chose the Apfelstrudel with whipped cream and the Kaiserschmarrn (pan fried souffle with roasted plums). The desserts were a big hit all round.
Despite lacking somewhat on the flavour and service front, Delicat wasn’t too bad. If you’re happening around Clapham and looking for an immersion back into the Austrian way, then Delicat’s fairly authentic menu would be worth a try, however I’m not sure it’s worth the trek if you live over the other side of town. Sorry Delicat.